Life with Lively: Lawncare Tips and More

It’s funny how things work together. The last time we visited, God had created water, and I got the opportunity to talk about all the water we had recently received in the way of rainfall. Now, we discover that God has created dry land, and placed the plants upon it. So this week we are going to talk about plants.
Thanks to the recent rains, plants around here are growing like mad. My wife, Lela, has planted a garden; it’s not a huge plantation, just a four foot by eight foot patch of green beans, some carrots, tomatoes, sweet peppers and cantaloupes. The cantaloupe patch scares me; it’s huge and full of blooms so if the weather holds, we will be deep in the cantaloupe business in a few weeks. We’ve already had our first bean harvest. We filled up a four gallon bucket full of green beans, and they are back to producing their next harvest.
And of course the rain has caused my grass to grow, and magnified an annual argument that I have with my neighbor.
Before I go any further with this I have to explain something, and provide a disclaimer. My neighbor is my grandmother. I love my grandmother very much, and if at any point in this piece you find humor, please note that I am in no way poking fun at her or am I trying to make her look foolish. (I have to put this in here because I have some relatives who do not understand the humor called sarcasm.)
So, with all legalities aside, let me tell you a little about my lawn. Most people around here grow Bermuda grass. It is a hearty grass that does well in our relatively hot dry climate. When treated right it makes even the roughest lawn a smooth velvety surface to walk barefoot on a summer night. Now there are two schools of thought as to how to treat Bermuda grass.
There is the “old school” method. This method consists of mowing the grass down to less than one inch tall (putting green height). Sure it means you don’t have to mow as often, but when you cut it down, you have to replace nutrients with lots of fertilizer, and you can also expect a high water bill.
I subscribe the “new school” method. I cut my grass at a height of three inches. When I water, the ground stays damp longer due to the natural shade the grass provides. In this cool damp environment, the clippings turn to mulch meaning I spend less on fertilizer.
This drives my grandmother crazy. So every year we have a debate over how I don’t mow my grass like I should.
Unfortunately, Christians today are cutting their spiritual lawns short. We get so wrapped up in being “politically correct” that our message gets diluted. Instead of boldly proclaiming Jesus, we whisper afraid that someone might be offended. We even go so far as to allow the enemy to convince us that Jesus was “the great appeaser;” and one who never offended others. Well, check out Matthew 15.
The Pharisees came to Jesus and the disciples and were offended by what they saw. They got upset because the disciples did not wash their hands before dinner, a major Jewish taboo. But Jesus knew that there were bigger lessons to learn. He didn’t apologize. He didn’t run off and make everyone wash their hands, he pointed out in verse 11: It’s not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man. He basically accused the Pharisees of committing greater sin. He didn’t back down and start apologizing. He didn’t beg for forgiveness. He boldly proclaimed the Gospel.
This is the example that Jesus set for us, and every time we cut ourselves back, and apologize for being Christians, we have to make up ground to find boldness again. The internet is full of news stories about how Christians are being unfair and not giving other “religions” their fair due. Well guess what? Those other religions are just bunk. Buddha and Mohammed are still lying in their graves while our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven in front of several witnesses. At Jesus’ last appearance, He commanded all Christians to boldly proclaim His message to all nations.
I really don’t want this devotional time to become political, but it’s no secret that our nation is coming to a crossroad. The question I want to ask is this: Are we as Christians going to quietly ride the currents of “public” opinions? Or, are we going to find boldness and stand for the beliefs that our savior instructed us to follow?
Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19

Brocke Lively is a lifelong Texan from a little town called Olton.
Brocke and his wife, Lela, have 5 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 chickens, and what seems like a revolving door of neighbor kids coming over to play. As a father, Brocke recognizes that how he lives his life, and how he worships God not only reflects on his own salvation, but ripples to how his kids worship God.
Brocke attends a small town church where he is known as an on-call substitute Sunday school teacher. He recognizes that his church family is also a large part of who he is, and who he want his kids to grow up to be; God-fearing followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Episode 4: God Creates Land

Eden, Earth – Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

Life with Lively: Water, Water, Everywhere!

It’s ironic that this week’s episode of BNN is about God creating water. In the past week we have had an abundance of water here in West Texas. Normally we get a few showers here and there; just enough to nourish the crops and plants, but this year has been different. It started on July 2nd with Hurricane Alex. After making a landfill, all of her moisture came right up here where I live. We were on the western edge of the system, so in Olton we got somewhere in the area of 2 ½ to 2 ¾ inches of rain. However, just 25 miles to the east in Plainview where I work, they got 5 to 6 inches of rain at the landfill. For the Fourth of July (it was actually on the 3rd) we went to my dad’s in Lorenzo, about 50 miles southeast of my home. We got there to find a lot of water. I spent the day standing in ankle deep water stirring a pot of beans. Water, for the first time that I can remember, is in abundance in this part of the country.
I will admit it is a nice change of pace to see the lakes full, and to see creeks flowing again –although it has made for a rough week at work; just driving around the landfill has been a challenge. But God has blessed our part of the country, and for that I am thankful.
One thing that has struck me as funny has been a constant question that lots of people keep asking. “Where did all this water come from?” I can’t help but smirk at that because it brings me back to when I was in 3rd grade. My dad was in charge of the city water system in Olton when I was in school, and my teacher had asked him to come and give a talk about water and water conservation. I remember he had a mason jar filled with water, and he held it up and proclaimed it was actual water from the Great Flood mentioned in Genesis. My classmates were taken aback with how cool that was. He passed the jar around and we all looked at it like it was a museum piece. One of my friends asked my dad where he could get some water from the flood and my dad pointed down the hall to the water fountain.
It’s one of those things we don’t really think about is it? The Bible says God created everything in the first seven days. God created water on Day 2, and when he did he created enough to last the lifetime of the universe. God knew on the second day of creation how much water we were going to need on July 9, 2010; and on July 10, and July 11 and so on.
Now admittedly, we have contaminated a lot of our water, and it will take a lot of effort to clean out the impurities to make it usable, but in that statement is today’s lesson.
In John 4: 13 and 14, Jesus says, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again. But no one who drinks the water I give will ever be thirsty again. The water I give is like a flowing fountain that gives eternal life.”
Jesus has given us a pure and simple way to salvation through him. Unfortunately, sometimes we allow that living water to become contaminated. We get so tied up with other things that we lose the joy of living a life free from sin.
This week I’m subbing in a Sunday school class and the lesson is in 1 Corinthians 11:17-26. It deals with how the Corinthian church had taken something as simple and pure as taking The Lords Supper and turned it into a show of who was the better Christian. The message had become contaminated, and because of that, remembering this important time in the life of Jesus, had lost its value to the Corinthians. So many times we get so wrapped up in what image we are portraying to others that we forget the purpose of worship is to glorify God.
Worshiping “The Living Water” is in itself perfect. We don’t need to add any flavorings, or sweeteners to it. God created us for His companionship, one on one with Him. We don’t have to put on a pre-tense of how great we want God to think we are. God doesn’t see our Christian T-shirts, he sees the person wearing the shirt. He knows that person and all the dirty little secrets that he is trying to keep.
Are we really drinking in the pure living water of Jesus or have we contaminated our lives, and just keep pouring in artificial agents to try to cover up the mess? I for one know that sometimes its best to just dump out all the crud in our lives and get a fresh cup of water. That is my prayer for this week: that I clear out all the impurities in my life and worship God pure clear and unfiltered.

Brocke Lively is a lifelong Texan from a little town called Olton.
Brocke and his wife, Lela, have 5 kids, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 2 chickens, and what seems like a revolving door of neighbor kids coming over to play. As a father, Brocke recognizes that how he lives his life, and how he worships God not only reflects on his own salvation, but ripples to how his kids worship God.
Brocke attends a small town church where he is known as an on-call substitute Sunday school teacher. He recognizes that his church family is also a large part of who he is, and who he want his kids to grow up to be; God-fearing followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Episode 3: God Separates the Waters

Earth, Universe – And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.”  So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.